In 1962, the Daytona International Speedway launched its inaugural race. This first race was a three-hour contest, but soon became the 24-hour race of today. Rolex has supported this race since the early 1960s. They even named one of their most iconic collections after them. This year, as Daytona celebrates its 60th anniversary, Rolex celebrates their 30th anniversary as Daytona’s Title Sponsor.
This year’s race recently concluded last January 30. There were 61 cars – the largest since 2014 – that started the field. In the beginning, the Cadillacs had the better pace. But as night fell, the Acuras came back strong. Halfway through the race, seven of the Daytona Prototype International (DPI) entrants had led parts of the race. Hard driving and intense concentration took its toll on a number of DPI cars. In the closing hours, two full course cautions brought the four teams still in contention for the overall win to within seconds of each other. Ultimately, the #60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura ARX-05 held on to take the chequered flag after a gruelling 761 laps.
The winning car was driven by Oliver Jarvis, Tom Blomqvist, Helio Castroneves, and Simon Pagenaud, showcasing how man and machine work in perfect harmony. Tradition has it that the winning drivers are awarded with a specially engraved Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona in recognition of their achievement.
In other categories, the #81 DragonSpeed USA ORECA 07-Gibson garnered top donors in Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) while the #74 Tiley Motorsports Ligier JS P320 got the black and white flag in the Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3). Porsche took victories in both GT Daytona (GTD) classes. The #9Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R took the title in the GTD PRO division, while the #16 Wright Motorsports Porsche GT3R took the win in GTD.
On this 60th anniversary, the race honoured former drivers and owners. Among them were Mario Andretti, Scott Pruett, Bobby Rahal, Hurley Haywood, Jack Roush, and Wayne Taylor, all of whom received the coveted role of Grand Marshal.
Reflecting on the legacy of this race, Scott Pruett said: “When you look at the people, manufacturers and brands involved in Daytona, there’s no better place to go racing… All drivers across the generations come to the speedway for a chance to wear the coveted Rolex Daytona on their wrist, there is nothing as special.”